PHOENIX — Your next fun-filled outdoor adventure begins this weekend at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AZGFD) annual Outdoor Expo.
Located at the 1,650-acre Ben Avery Shooting Facility in north Phoenix, this popular event showcases Arizona’s abundance of wildlife-related and outdoor recreation opportunities, including wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, camping, off-highway vehicle (OHV) and boating recreation, and more.
Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is located on Carefree Highway, one-half of a mile west of Interstate 17. Admission and parking are free.
“We’re not aware of any other free event that combines conservation, recreation and industry into such a welcoming environment for the public,” said Ty Gray, Game and Fish director. “This is where people can find plenty of hands-on activities, see educational exhibits, presentations, test and purchase the latest equipment and products, and connect with social organizations that can provide countless ‘next step’ experiences to support their outdoor passions.”
So, what kind of outdoor fun and opportunities await expo visitors? For starters, how about:
- Throwing a line and getting hooked on fishing at the kids’ fishing tank.
- Meeting live wildlife ambassadors.
- Engaging with experts about Arizona’s wildlife, fishing, hunting, boating, off-highway vehicles, and more.
- Experiencing a variety of shooting sports in a safe, supervised, controlled environment.
- Visiting with more than 150 exhibitors, including outdoor recreation and conservation groups, government agencies, and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.
Once again, the department’s Presentations Tent in Area 3 (Outdoor Recreation) features an exciting lineup. This is where a different expert will share his or her outdoor “specialty” every hour, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
9:30 a.m. – Living With Rattlesnakes. Presenter: Bryan Hughes, Rattlesnake Solutions.
10:30 a.m. – Desert Tortoises Make Great Pets: Learn How to Adopt One. Presenter: Tegan Wolf, AZGFD’s desert tortoise adoption program coordinator.
11:30 a.m. – All About Eagles. Presenter: Kenneth “Tuk” Jacobson, AZGFD’s raptor management coordinator.
12:30 p.m. – LIVE: Arizona’s AmAZing Wildlife! Presenter: Nancy Kreuder, AZGFD’s wildlife education outreach coordinator.
1:30 p.m. – Living With Wildlife: Wildcats. Presenter: Mark Hart, AZGFD’s public affairs community liaison (Tucson).
2:30 p.m. – Have a Great Day on the Water: Paddling in Arizona. Presenter: Josh Hoffman, AZGFD’s boating safety education coordinator.
10:30 a.m. – Responsible Recreation: OHVs in Arizona. Presenter: Kim Jackson, AZGFD’s boating and OHV education program manager.
11:30 a.m. – How, Where, When to View Arizona’s AmAZing Wildlife. Presenters: Jeff Meyers, AZGFD’s wildlife viewing program manager; Cheyenne Towne, AZGFD’s wildlife viewing program coordinator.
12:30 p.m. – Connect With Outdoor Enthusiasts Through the Outdoor Skills Network. Presenter: Scott Lavin, AZGFD’s recruitment, retention and reactivation chief.
1:30 p.m. – What to Do With Sick, Injured, Orphaned Wildlife. Presenter: Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.
As a reminder, the department will auction its annual collection of wildlife assets this weekend. More than 100 sets of antlers, hides, skulls and wildlife mounts, as well as wildlife artwork and taxidermy — all seized during law enforcement investigations, obtained from animals killed in vehicle collisions, or acquired through donations — will be sold. Items can be purchased individually, by the pound, or through a silent auction.
AZGFD will be posting bidding rules and auction procedures on Instagram (www.instagram.com/gf_assets). Once the expo gets underway, photos of many of the assets will be posted for the benefit of those wanting to see what items become available throughout the day.
Funds generated from the wildlife assets auction are used to purchase equipment and technology used in the investigation of wildlife crimes and to protect the state’s wildlife resources.
New this year: Reserve your spot to attend the expo and be entered to win a Canyon Coolers Ultimate Prize Pack, complete with:
- Outfitter 75 quart cooler.
- Cooler basket.
- Clean ice bag.
- D-funk cooler cleaner.
- Canyon Coolers T-shirt, hoodie and hat.
- Tumblers, stickers and beverage coolers.
Event sponsors this year include Sig Sauer (gold), Kimber America (silver), Walther and TrueShot Gun Club (bronze), and Canyon Coolers (prize pack).
Game and Fish conducts the expo to promote wildlife-related and other outdoor recreation activities. The public’s participation in these activities supports the department’s mission and funding. The department receives no Arizona tax dollars, and no tax dollars are used in conducting the expo. For more information about the expo, visit www.azgfd.com/expo.